December 20, 2016

2017 SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS SNAPSHOT

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We are in the process of creating our ‘Top Small Business Trends’ blog post for 2017, and we’ve begun by reviewing several small business trend posts from the past few months.

One of the ways we create our own post is to score what some of the experts are saying; but we add to that our own algorithm; together, it provides a good picture of the near future.

Already, three trends are emerging that we can share in this brief 2017 Small Business Trends snapshot: video, freelancing and app development.

VIDEO BECOMES ESSENTIAL

Nearly all 2017 trend reports, like one from Inc. magazine, believe the growth of video is an essential component for small business success in 2017.  According to a recent Forbes study, video is becoming a critical source of information for executives:

• More than 80% said they are watching more online video today than they were a year ago.

• Three-quarters (75%) of executives surveyed said they watch work-related videos on business-related websites at least weekly; more than half (52%) watch work-related videos on YouTube at least weekly.

• Overall, 65% have visited a vendor’s website after watching a video.

Hubspot’s Consumer Behavior Survey confirms this trend. Over half (55%) of users say they consume an entire video, compared to 29% for blogs and 33% for interactive articles. Concludes the report, “If you want your entire message to be consumed, video tends to be the preferred medium.”

Video isn’t just about creating ads for online viewing; it is more about providing content for potential clients making decisions; showing them the benefits and Unique Selling Proposition of small business products.  In 2017, small businesses will incorporate video into their marketing plan or slowly get left behind.

REMOTE EMPLOYMENT

Freelance and Remote employment, too, are experiencing growth.  Freelance workers provide flexibility, and generally are highly cost-effective; they can provide a company high-level skills for the time needed without the need to provide benefits, or worry about compliance issues.

Small Business Labs listed the trend toward freelance employment at #5 on their list:

This year will see an inflection point in terms of major corporations embracing freelance talent. After studying and testing the use of freelancers (called “agile talent” and “contingent labor” by corporations) for several years, 2017 will see the corporate use of agile talent increase and become mainstream. This will, of course, increase the demand for independent workers.

Remote employment is growing steadily, too. According to Inc. magazine, in its 2017 Business Trends article:

10 years ago, you may have never even heard of a remote employee. Nowadays, tech companies and startups are doing most of their hires remotely. IBM led this trend and many other companies have followed suit. Since meetings can be done over Skype or other video conference platforms and customer service, social media and programming positions only require access to the computer and Internet, talented Millennials can be hired for positions no matter where they live.

  RISE OF THE SMALL BUSINESS APP

Apps used to be only for the largest corporations, but that has changed with the rise of app development companies like Good Barber, MobiCart and BuildFire, along with a host of other companies.

Today, small businesses can create their own do-it-yourself app, or pay $3,500 – $10,000  to have someone create one for them.  The emergence of mobile has made apps an important small business tool.  A recent survey revealed that the majority of small businesses are building apps to increase sales (55 percent), improve customer experience (50 percent) and become competitive in a specific market (50 percent).

Below is a graphic from a recent Small Business Trends article, Nearly Half of All Small Businesses Will Have a Mobile App by 2017, showing the rapid growth.

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“Three years ago, a small business might see 10 percent of its total traffic coming from mobile, but right now it’s closer to 70 percent. Within the next couple of years, a shift to a mobile app or a mobile-friendly site will become obvious,” says Viktor Marohnic, CEO of the app builder Shoutem.

So, there you have it, an early look at three of our Top 2017 Small Business Trends – video, remote employment, and app development.

Stay tuned for our complete post in January.